When Antonio Banderas winds up in a bushy white beard in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire and Famke Janssen (X-Men) submits to hideous makeup as a powerful witch in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, you know they’re heading into character roles.
So who can blame Dutch actress Janssen for deciding–James Franco-style–not to wait around for acting jobs? Just as she left modeling 18 years ago at her peak to become an actress, and got into the AFI film school when her acting career wasn’t thriving at first–at which point she landed a gig as Bond Girl Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye–she followed up her Columbia literature studies by writing and directing her first movie. She came to Cannes this year to promote market title Bringing Up Bobby, a mother-son road movie about a Ukrainian con artist who brings her American 10-year-old son Bobby to Oklahoma. The movie, shot in just 20 days in Oklahoma, stars another emigre/athlete/model-turned-actress, Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil). Bankside is selling territories here.
Janssen convinced U.S., U.K. and Holland backers to invest in the movie not off any shorts but via her director’s book filled with photos by Robert Frank and William Eggleston. “There are limited parts available to us, especially as we get older,” Janssen says, wanting to be challenged, citing the 30s as the golden age of actresses who were able to play a wide range of smart, well-written, glamourous roles. “I can’t wait to do it again. It’s like you’re the conductor.”
[Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images]